These short takes are presented as a companion to the Georgia Tech column off Saturday’s game. Tech lost to Georgia 38-7.
1. Believe it or not, the day could have gone worse for the Yellow Jackets. Freshman Jerry Howard bobbled the opening kickoff. He scurried into the end zone to recover the ball and barely exited before being tackled. A replay review ensued, apparently to check if Howard had indeed avoided a safety. Instead the ball was moved from the Tech 1 to the 25. Howard had put his hand above his eyes before the kick reached him, seemingly to shield his eyes from the sun. Replay officials deemed this a signal for a fair catch, which given his retrieval of the ball should yield a touchback. This was, it must be said, a most charitable interpretation. Also of note: Howard wasn’t deployed as a returner on Georgia’s next few kickoffs.
2. Paul Johnson didn’t give defensive coordinator Ted Roof a ringing vote of confidence – but he didn’t signal any intent to make a change, either. Asked about his confidence in Roof, Johnson said: “He’s coached a long time. … We (meaning his offense) didn’t exactly set the woods on fire the second half, and I’ve got confidence in myself.” Johnson did, however, express a bit of disgust at Tech yielding a field goal after scoring a touchdown with 42 seconds left in the first half. “I ran (the clock) down as far as I could,” he said.
3. If you wondered how Ricky Jeune wasn’t covered on that touchdown pass … well, he was – up until he wasn’t. “We call it a rub route,” quarterback TaQuon Marshall said, “rub” being a euphemism for “pick.” Teams run pick plays on the goal line because, duh, they work. (Clemson’s winning touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson to Hunter Renfrow at 0:01 of the most recent national championship game involved, er, a rub.) The Bulldog assigned to cover Jeune bumped into another Tech receiver, leaving Jeune alone. “I was surprised he was that open,” Marshall said. That would be Tech’s second and last completion. Both were to Jeune. On the season, the Jackets completed 43 passes. Twenty-five were caught by Jeune.